Chubu Sangaku, Japan


Chubu Sangaku National Park is a national park in the Northern Japanese Alps. This volcanic mountain range stretches across Toyama, Nagano, and Gifu Prefectures. It includes several 3,000-metre high peaks and breathtaking hiking trails. The Park is home to numerous gorges, ravines, and dramatic escarpments. As well as the headwater of Japan’s longest river, the Shinano River. Popular destinations in the Park include Kamikochi, a highland plateau famous for its beautiful mountain scenery; the unique Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route; and Hakuba, one of Japan’s most popular ski resorts.

Wildlife wise the vegetation varies by elevation: with coniferous forests dominating the highest peaks, birch forests covering the slopes between 1,500 and 2,500 metres, and beech and oak taking over the lower reaches. Chubu Sangaku also provides a home to some amazing mammals including Asiatic black bears, Japanese macaques, and Japanese serows.

Average rating: 5.0 (very good)

Average cost: entrance to the Park itself is free. Accommodation costs around $80 per night and a ski pass can cost around $50 per day.

Best time to visit: the Park provides spectacular alpine vistas every season, winter is a great time for skiing, while autumn is particularly beautiful thanks to the changing colours of the leaves.

How to get there: the southern region of Chubu Sangaku is accessible by train and bus from major urban areas such as Sapporo, Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka, Nagoya, and Fukuoka. Check out this really useful website for planning a trip.

Typical activities: hiking, skiing, wildlife watching

Number of reports: 1

Last update: 2022

WILDLIFE IN Chubu Sangaku

According to reports submitted to WildSide, the most popular species that can be seen here are:

SEROW – 100% OF wildside users (1/1) REPORTED SIGHTINGS

serow chubu sangaku wildside world wild webThe Japanese serow – known locally as Kamoshika or ‘wraith of the forest’ – is a strange and mysterious creature seldom heard of outside of Japan. Found only in the mountains of Japan they are an endemic species that have been described as looking like a cross between a cow, a donkey, a pig, and a goat! Serows are silent, secretive wanderers, browsing through the forests and mountains. They move slowly, and deliberately, pushing through deep snow in winter and dense vegetation in summer.

They are difficult to spot but you have a chance if you spend some time quietly walking the trails and looking out for them on the wooded slopes of the mountainsides. You can also look for the tracks they sometimes leave in the wooded sections of ski resorts such as Hakuba. Winter is a good time to look for them when the deciduous forests have shed their leaves, and there is snow on the ground to reveal their tracks.

Photo Credit: Kanenori under a Creative Commons licence from Pixabay

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